The world of investments can be tricky to understand, as confusing jargon is often thrown around by financial advisors, investment companies and stockbrokers. One of these terms is ‘cash cow’, which is considered one of the smartest investments that a company or individual can make, due to the potential for continued, reliable returns without much risk or continued investments. But how do you know which investments fall into cash cow territory? And where exactly does the strange name come from?
A cash cow is a reference to a business, product, or asset that, once acquired and paid off, will produce consistent cash flows over its lifespan. It is the name for a relatively low-maintenance investment that provides continued returns without the need for much additional capital or even attention.
They are usually companies or businesses in a mature, slow-growth industry, often with a large market share, and require little investment beyond the initial costs. Those who invest in cash cows will enjoy healthy, long-term profits without really needing to do anything for them.
The cash cow is a metaphor for a dairy cow that produces milk over the course of its life and requires little to no maintenance. The phrase is applied to a business that is also similarly low-maintenance. Modern-day cash cows require little investment capital and perennially provide positive cash flows, which can be allocated to other divisions within a corporation. They are low risk, high reward investments.
An example would be the iPhone, which is Apple’s (AAPL) cash cow. Its return on assets is far greater than its market growth rate; as a result, Apple can invest the excess cash generated by the iPhone into other projects or products.
To explain how this brief of cash cows and investments can bring a marketer towards the fast lane of wealth, IQI Eliteone had a session, with Dave Chong as the speaker, to break down on his tips and know-hows on the subject.
Decorated with achievements as the IQI Group Vice President as well as the founder of IQI Eliteone Group, Dave Chong shared his two-cents on how one can get on the fast track of wealth through cash cows and investments.
Starting out as a part time real estate negotiator, Dave went on to establishing it as a successful career for himself over a short span of eight years. In his first five weeks of joining IQI, he managed to seal five deals, with a commission of over RM50,000.
However, he was dejected when he faced cancellations at the end of the month. Despite being down in the slumps, Dave picked himself back up and convinced himself that this was only a slight setback in his journey.
In 2014, Dave went on to becoming one of the Top 10 Achievers in IQI and was promoted to team leader and team manager thereof. To date, Dave’s Team has closed over RM1 billion in sales for IQI, laminating is outstanding feat.
Different Paths to Wealth
As a former businessman, Dave shared on how marketers can duplicate his journey of garnering wealth not only by doing sales but also through investments.
Dave explored the different paths to wealth and cleared up the misconceptions of the conventional method of gaining wealth. The different paths to wealth, in Dave’s take, are
Broken down to three parts, namely the side lane, the slow lane, and the fast lane. As the name implies, the fast lane is the way to go.Dave leverages on cash cows and investment vehicles in his fast lane method. As previously defined, cash cow are money generating activities that do not have an upper limit.
In a conventional job, there is always a limit to how much you earn through your salaries and bonuses. However, as a property agent, your income through sales is limitless. The more sales closed, the more income generated. Thus, commissions are a cash cow for marketers.
Once you have earned the money, where you place the money thereof is imperative. Your decision could make or break your fast lane to millions. Dave stresses that if you were to deposit your money into a current account, it will eventually evaporate.
Your spending habits will be harder to control when you are secure with money in the bank, and one day you may just wake up to a dry account due to feeling too comfortable with the money you have.
Thus, it is crucial for one to identify relevant investment vehicles, which comprise of properties, shares, businesses and cryptocurrencies.
Dave explained the compounding effect of your assets, which is the income produced once you place your money into a certain investment vehicle, be it capital appreciation, rental or an interest.
He broke down the percentage of return for each investment whereby you can only receive a 3% return in fixed deposits, 6% – 10% for real estate, 15% for shares, and 20% in businesses.
However, Dave reiterated that it would be wise not to keep all your eggs in one basket and the best option would be knowing where and how much to invest so that your money will be dispersed as there will always be risks in each investment vehicle.
Dave further explained the passive income you can get with the initial money you have earned. He broke down calculations on how over the span of 10 years, one can achieve a RM12,000 income per month using passive income formula. He metaphors on how one must first build their golden goose which will eventually lay golden eggs for them continuously.
Dissecting the fundamentals of property investment, Dave shared that properties are the best way to hedge against inflation as property prices grows faster than inflation rates, making assets in property grow steadier than your value in money.
The inflation hedging capability of real estate stems from the positive relationship between GDP growth and the demand for real estate. As economies expand, the demand for
real estate drives rents higher. This, in turn, translates into higher capital values. Therefore, real estate tends to maintain the buying power of capital by passing some of the inflationary pressure on to tenants and by incorporating some of the inflationary pressure in the form of capital appreciation.
Second is the ability to leverage, as property is the only asset where banks are allowing a 35 year tenure loan. Leverage is the use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital (e.g., debt) to increase an investment’s potential return. A 20% down payment on a mortgage, for example, gets you 100% of the house you want to buy—that’s leverage. Because real estate is a tangible asset and one that can serve as collateral, financing is readily available.
Leveraging on that to make profits through passive income is the key, which brings us to the third fundamental of property investment, rentable properties. Real estate investors make money through rental income, any profits generated by property-dependent business activity, and appreciation. Real estate values tend to increase over time, and with a good investment, you can turn a profit when it’s time to sell. Rents also tend to rise over time, which can lead to higher cash flow.
The final foundation of property investment would be the stability and wealth preservation. There will be minimal risks of losing this investment as compared to other investment vehicles.
As you pay down a property mortgage, you build equity—an asset that’s part of your net worth. And as you build equity, you have the leverage to buy more properties and increase cash flow and wealth even more.
The benefits of investing in real estate are numerous. With well-chosen assets, investors can enjoy predictable cash flow, excellent returns, tax advantages, and diversification—and it’s possible to leverage real estate to build wealth.
Moving on to another investment vehicle, shares, which Dave describes as slice of a company. Buying a share would in short mean you own a piece of the company. The two concepts to note for this particular investment is company valuation and company earning.
The market cap is the company valuation while profits are the company earning. Dave also shared the P/E Ratio which is the share price (company valuation) divided by the earnings per share (company earnings).
When looking up a company on the internet, you may see all these terms as well as the price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) which signifies the importance of leveraging.
P/E ratio is the ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its per-share earnings (EPS). The price-to-earnings ratio is also sometimes known as the price multiple or the earnings multiple.
P/E ratios are used by investors and analysts to determine the relative value of a company’s shares in an apples-to-apples comparison. It can also be used to compare a company against its own historical record or to compare aggregate markets against one another or over time.
P/E may be estimated on a trailing (backward-looking) or forward (projected) basis. To determine the P/E value, one simply must divide the current stock price by the earnings per share (EPS).
Dave explained that this is how public companies work. There must be a willing buyer and a willing seller to make up a market which determines the valuation of a public listed company. This is the power of leveraging for both buyer and sellers.
As such, to invest in shares, one must look at the long term potential. Breezing through graphs, Dave studied the rise and falls of various companies and how the long term investments in companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple has panned out.
Dave hints that shares can contribute to 10% to 15% investment return per annum and is a solid vehicle to multiply your money, depending on your knowledge of investment. Dave sticks to his philosophy of long term investments, the wait may be only slightly longer but the profits reaped are sweet.
Lastly, Dave touched on cryptocurrency as the final investment vehicle. A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.
Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology—a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. A defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.
The first blockchain-based cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which still remains the most popular and most valuable. Today, there are thousands of alternate cryptocurrencies with various functions and specifications. Some of these are clones or forks of Bitcoin, while others are new currencies that were built from scratch.
Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by an individual or group known by the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”. As of March 2021, there were over 18.6 million bitcoins in circulation with a total market cap of around $927 billion.
Some of the competing cryptocurrencies spawned by Bitcoin’s success, known as “altcoins”, include Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Binance Coins, as well as Ethereum, Cardano, and EOS. Today, the aggregate value of all the cryptocurrencies in existence is around $1.5 trillion—Bitcoin currently represents more than 60% of the total value.
Cryptocurrencies hold the promise of making it easier to transfer funds directly between two parties, without the need for a trusted third party like a bank or credit card company. These transfers are instead secured by the use of public keys and private keys and different forms of incentive systems, like Proof of Work or Proof of Stake.
In modern cryptocurrency systems, a user’s “wallet,” or account address, has a public key, while the private key is known only to the owner and is used to sign transactions. Fund transfers are completed with minimal processing fees, allowing users to avoid the steep fees charged by banks and financial institutions for wire transfers.
Cryptocurrencies allow for secure payments online which are denominated in terms of virtual “tokens,” which are represented by ledger entries internal to the system. Investors can make money with cryptocurrency by mining Bitcoin, or simply selling their Bitcoin at a profit.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are digital currencies not backed by real assets or tangible securities. They are traded between consenting parties with no broker and tracked on digital ledgers.
There is no physical bitcoin, only balances kept on a public ledger that everyone has transparent access to. All bitcoin transactions are verified by a massive amount of computing power. Bitcoin is not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor is an individual bitcoin valuable as a commodity. Despite it not being legal tender in most parts of the world, bitcoin is very popular and has triggered the launch of hundreds of other cryptocurrencies, collectively referred to as altcoins. Bitcoin is commonly abbreviated as “BTC”.
Bitcoin mining is the process by which bitcoin is released into circulation. Generally, mining requires solving computationally difficult puzzles to discover a new block, which is added to the blockchain.
Bitcoin mining adds and verifies transaction records across the network. Miners are rewarded with some bitcoin; the reward is halved every 210,000 blocks. The block reward was 50 new bitcoins in 2009. On May 11th, 2020, the third halving occurred, bringing the reward for each block discovery down to 6.25 bitcoins.
Many bitcoin supporters believe that digital currency is the future. Many individuals who endorse bitcoin believe it facilitates a much faster, low-fee payment system for transactions across the globe.
Although it is not backed by any government or central bank, bitcoin can be exchanged for traditional currencies; in fact, its exchange rate against the dollar attracts potential investors and traders interested in currency plays.
Indeed, one of the primary reasons for the growth of digital currencies like bitcoin is that they can act as an alternative to national fiat money and traditional commodities like gold.
Like any other asset, the principle of buying low and selling high applies to bitcoin. The most popular way of amassing the currency is through buying on a bitcoin exchange, but there are many other ways to earn and own bitcoin.
Dave stresses that even though you can make money, it would still be a gamble. He advises to invest in cryptocurrency when you have spare money to be kept there over the course of a few years (in a short period) for it to multiply.
He strongly advises against going all in into cryptocurrency because the risk of its valuation dropping for a few years at a time may be high. As such, Daves reiterates that when it comes to cryptocurrency, one should only invest the money they can afford to lose.
To wrap up, one should invest enough to keep your cash flow division functioning smoothly, and make decisions about how to spend the added income based on your overall priorities and goals.
Dave concluded that one should build their own system of generating wealth first for more efficient and lucrative decisions on investing your money.
The role that your cash cow plays in your overall business strategy will depend on your priorities. If you want to make as much money as possible, direct your resources and your energy toward maximizing its sales, using other products and services primarily to support it and flesh out your line. If you are interested in making the world a better place, use your cash cow as a way to earn enough income to do the work you love.